Approaching ‘hybrid’ teaching in your classroom

Hybrid → something that has two different types of components performing essentially the same function.

A useful understanding about the capabilities of laptops and their microphones → the microphones on laptops are not designed to pick up people roaming around in space. They are designed to work best with somebody sitting in front of the screen working at the keyboard. Therefore it is best practice to ensure that the laptop screen is pointing at you when you are speaking. The devices are quite good at picking up your audio from further than arm length – but if you are behind the screen it will struggle.

The ‘hybrid’ situation → you have most of your class in front of you, in the classroom, but also students joining you from home.The students at home are well enough to meaningfully participate in the learning.

Recommended approach

  1. Turn on your interactive screen – if you intend to project anything during the lesson.
  1. Connect your laptop to the dock with the provided cable. This connects your laptop to the interactive screen (and provides a cabled connection to the internet and power). These cables are in the process of being replaced with ones that are two meters in length (double the default length) to give the next steps some additional flexibility.
  1. Point your school laptop at the position where you will be teaching most of the lesson from. In these Covid times – that is probably going to be the ‘teacher’s box’ for a majority of the lesson. Using the extra cable length you should be able to position the laptop at the far end of the teacher desk to give the best possible view of the teacher/front of the classroom. It may be necessary to move a little bit of classroom furniture to facilitate this.
Laptop at the end of the teacher’s desk pointing at where the teacher intends to be for a majority of the lesson.
  1. Use your laptop’s camera to stream the lesson. Using your laptop, rather than using the device of a student, means that only you should be visible in the Meet with the students working from home.
  1. Go to your Google Meet address and start the Meet – allow in any students that need to join from home. It is recommended to ask the students at home to turn on their webcams – at least for the first part of the lesson – as a welfare check.
  1. If you are presenting anything onto the interactive screen – such as an online resource, Google Slides or similar – present them to the Google Meet. I would suggest using the Present now → ‘A Chrome tab’ option. Switching which tab is being shared into the Meet can be done via the option at the top of the currently shared tab.
  1. If you are planning to draw upon the interactive screen, or the whiteboards, seriously consider using Google Jamboard as this can be shared with the students at home. You can read more about Jamboard here.
  1. The students at home should be reminded about how you wish them to ask questions during the lesson. They could use the chat function or they could turn on their microphones and ask.